Joel S. Spira

Distinguished Alumnus 1998

  • B.S. 1948, Physics, Purdue University

It is with great enthusiasm that the Department of Physics nominates Joel Spira for a 1998 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Joel received a B.S. in Physics from Purdue in 1948. In 1961, Joel started Lutron Electronics, a privately held company that initially made light dimmers. Joel's insight into technology and manufacturing enabled him to build Lutron into a dominant force in the dimmer market. He pioneered the concept of mass customization in which customized dimmers could be produced at mass production costs. Joel was early to integrate semiconductor intelligence into his products. Today, Lutron offers sophisticated dimmers in several thousand product variations.

Joel's commitment to excellence is not confined to his business. In 1988, he established an annual award of $ 1,000 for teaching excellence in the Department of Physics. The Joel S. Spira Excellence in Teaching Award is used to promote excellence in the teaching of undergraduate physics to physics majors and nonmajors.

Joel's professional accomplishments and his continuing interest in the Department of Physics and Purdue University make him very unique among our many alumni. We believe that he is highly deserving of our recognition with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Excerpted from the nomination letter by Professor A. Hirsch, November 13, 1997

Career Highlights

  • 1961 started Lutron Electronics
  • 1988 established an annual award of $ 1,000 for teaching excellence in the Department of Physics
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 3:41 PM